Modern Entrepreneur’s Guide For Hiring In The Digital Age – Forbes

Recruiting is one of the most important priorities the company can ever invest in: it can either advance or stall company’s growth.

Entrepreneurs oftentimes prioritize the wrong “P” when it comes to business success: Product over People. Both are important, but hiring the right people will create and define your culture, and culture will take care of the rest, including product innovation.

With the rise of digital and social media, some hiring practices that were used for decades became obsolete, replaced by more creative approaches, such as social recruiting.

Here are some of the proven strategies you can use to hire the best talent:

Prioritize passion and self-learning over resume bullet points

When I did research for my first book “Think Like Zuck” and talked to many successful entrepreneurs, one common leadership belief stood out more than any other. And that is: “Hire for passion. Skills can be taught, passion – can’t.” If a person is deeply engaged in the communities around your business and adds value through thoughtful contributions (and nowadays, most of it happens through social channels), you know they are passionate about the same vision that you are.

Time and time again successful business people recommended to hire not based on resume but based on street smarts. They ask themselves one question: “Is this person a self-learner and a self-starter?” In the age of break-speed innovation and digital transformation only those who continue to learn and adapt can successfully pivot their strategies and skillsets. And that is what differentiates real performers.

Tip: Look at the candidate’s digital and social footprint and identify the themes of interest that intersect with your company’s vision and direction, then arrange the interview process in a way that would not only showcase candidate’s understanding of your business, but their ability to think on his/her feet and find creative solutions.

Accept video applications

Video is the best format to get a good feel for who the candidate is.  First, someone who will take time making a video is serious about their application. Second, we can tell a lot about a person based on many visual clues (such as body language). Video does what the resume can’t: not only shows candidate’s knowledge, but personality as well.

Tip: Use tools that will let you accept video applications; use Skype for video interviews.

Hire on social networks

My friend Vala Afshar hired purely on Twitter when he was a CMO of Extreme Networks and had several digital marketing roles open. “I am fairly certain I am going to abandon the résumé process,” he said in the interview with Wall Street Journal. “The Web is your CV and social networks are your references.” Similar to Google offering coding challenges for prospective hires to solve, Afshar looked at people’s real-life digital skillsets to identify how well they really understood the digital transformation imperative.

Tip: Ensure your hiring team has digitally-focused mindset and is up-to-speed on the latest/greatest digital hiring practices.

Recruit passive candidates on social channels

There are a lot of professionals who are not actively looking but would switch jobs if the right offer came along. Proactively finding them and reaching out to them through a meaningful and personal connection does pay off in the long run.

One example is a video game company Red 5 Studios who handpicked 100 ideal candidates and got to “know” them by researching their social media profiles and past work. They then sent each one a personalized iPod equipped with a welcome from their CEO. This led to several great hires.

You don’t have to go that far, but you can easily build relationships with those folks if you connect with them in a meaningful way on the channels they are comfortable engaging on.

Tip: Implement the right tools that would allow you to not only understand potential candidates better, but to engage with them on the channels of their choice. At Sprinklr we use our own technology for social recruiting which allows us to find and connect with the best talent. Whether you want to look at the talent your competition (or the company you admire) employs, or find the best recruiting events, the technology (and its sophisticated workflows) will allow you to easily find, track, compartmentalize, and engage in real-time. We’ve seen high levels of success from our well thought-out social recruiting approach.

Create an environment people want to work in… and then let them share their stories

Just like recruiters, candidate also do their own research before deciding to join the company. Not every company can be a Google or offer Facebook’s amazing perks, but creating a unique environment where people are happy isn’t that hard. Whether it is adding working treadmills to the office ambiance (like Facebook does), or creating pet-friendly environment (like Sprinklr does), or allowing flexible schedule – these perks significantly increase employee loyalty. And employees love sharing their office delight with the world through their social media channels. So let them! It will significantly help with your recruiting success.

Tips:

  1. Review your social media policies and make sure they allow your employees to advocate on your behalf.
  2. Create hashtags that employees could easily adopt company-wide, which would allow you to curate some of the best content. At Sprinklr we use the hashtag #SprinklrLife. If you search for this hashtag across platforms you will see pictures of the most adorable Sprinklr office puppies you’ve ever seen, pictures of employees enjoying an occasional game of ping-pong, and much more.
  3. Create a great referral program and then display digital leaderboards in your office that show which employees are the most effective in their external outreach. At Sprinklr social employee amplification is the key driver of the company’s referrals. And we display it proudly on our Command Center screens across global offices.

In conclusion

The rules of the recruiting game might have changed in the digital world, but the basics of human relationship-building haven’t. Technology sure plays a big part in successful social recruiting approach, but ultimately it’s all about letting your prospective candidates know that you know them, you care about them, and you want them to be a part of your extraordinary team.

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